October 2011


A friend requested me to help her with an overview of the book of Joshua, so, instead of writing just to her, i decided to post it on my blog as well.

Historical Context Of The Book Of Joshua

The stories in the book of Joshua takes place exactly after the death of Moses, God appeared to Joshua to encourage him to lead the people into the promise land. By then the Israelites have already wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. Moses died on Mount Nebo after giving his final sermon in the book of Deuteronomy.

Joshua prepared the people to cross over to the Jordan, and lead 2 military campaign against the 7 tribes of Canaan. The book ended up with Joshua dividing the territories among the 12 tribes and his final address to the people before his death.

Sadly Joshua did not appoint a leader to follow him, (like Moses did). As a result, you no longer see the entire armies of Israel move as one family again. Until the kingdom Era.

Overview Of The Book Of Joshua

Generally, we can classify the book of Joshua into the following sections

1. Preparation to Enter Canaan (Joshua 1-5)

  1. God appears to Joshua to strengthen him(Chapt 1)
  2. Joshua sending out 2 spies to Jericho (Chapt 2)
  3. Israel crossing Jordan on dry ground (Chapt 3)
  4. Setting up of Memorial stones at the banks of Jordan (Chapt 4)
  5. Circumcision at Gigal, Passover, Ceasing of Manna (Chapt 5)

2. Joshua’s Southern Campaign (Joshua 6-10)

  1. Battle at Jericho (Chapt 6)
  2. Defeat at Ai and Sin Of Achan (Chapt 7)
  3. Battle at Ai and Renewal of Covenant (Chapt 8)
  4. Treaty with Gibeonites (Chapt 9)
  5. Battle at Gibeon, Defeat of 5 kings, Campaign Complete (Chapt 10)

3. Joshua’s Northern Campaign (Joshua 11-12)

  1. Defeat of Northern Kings and End of Campaign (Chapt 11)
  2. Names of Kings defeated by Moses and Joshua (Chapt 12)

4. Lands to be conquered and Division of Land (Joshua 13-19)

5. Implementation of Cities Of Refuge and Cities for Levites (Joshua 20-21)

6. Disbanding of the Armies Of Israel, Ruben , Gad and Manasseh return home. (Joshua 22)

7. Joshua Final Sermon And Death (Joshua 23-24)

Joshua lived 110 years before he died (Jos 24:29). To those who think i will draw up a time line, I have to disappoint as there is simply not enough information for me to construct a time line. But in case if those who are curious how old was Joshua when he left Egypt.. Here is my guess

Facts

1. People who are counted as man of war and numbered are 20 years and above (Num 14:29)

 a. Joshua is able to lead the Battle of Rephidim (Ex 17)

2. Caleb (which spied Canaan together with him)

 a. 85 Years Old when the land is divided (Joshua 14:10)
b. 40 years old when Moses sent him to spy Canaan (Jos 14: 7)

3. Wilderness Journey (40 years ) (Assumption Based on Previous Calculation )

 a. 2 years for Israel to go from Egypt to Kadesh Barnea
b. 38 years moving around in the wilderness as punishment

4. Years from Creation (Assumption Based on Previous Calculation )

 a. Israelites entered Canaan 2078 years after creation
b. Moses died on 2078th year too.

My Guess

1. Joshua could be 20 at the battle of Rephidim, (1a) 22 years old when he spy Canaan (3.a ), 62 years old when he entered Canaan (3.b)

 a. That means by Joshua death at 110 years old its 2078+48 = 2126 years after creation

2. If Joshua is really around the age of Caleb

 a. Joshua could be 38 at the battle of Rephidim (1a) , 40 when he spy Canaan (3.a ), 80 when he entered Canaan (3.b)
b. Joshua died at 110 years old which means his death is 2078+30 = 2108 years after creation

Interesting Facts That I wish I can Talk about

There are a few interesting thing about the books of Joshua I would like to share, and if God permits, I will have time to write about them on my blog.

1. City Of Jericho

 a. Joshua put a curse saying that whoever who rebuilds Jericho will lay the foundation at his firstborn and complete the gates with the death of his youngest child (Jos 6:26)
b. This curse was in effect and in fact Hiel Of Bethel rebuilt it under the order of King Ahab of Israel, his 2 sons died (1 Kings 16:34)

2. Rahab

 a. She is the great grandmother of King David (Matt 1:5)

3. Gibeonites

 a. Although they got their covenant with God by deceiving Joshua. God honours that Covenant nonetheless
b. When Saul killed them out of his zealousness and God clause a famine in the land until they are avenged (2 Sam 21:1-2)

 i God honours all his covenants, and will never go against them.

c. One Of The Gibeonites city is known as Kirjath Jearim (Jos 9:17)

 i. When the Philistines return the ark back to Israel, it was left in that city for 20 years. (1 Sam 6:13-20, 1 Sam 7:1-2)
ii. Effectively the ark rested at the land of Gibeon for a long time

4. Division of the Land

 a. Looking at the Land of Reuben, Judah you can see that the land allocated to them is very extreme, Reuben had a land that is very vulnerable to attacks while Judah is given a land that is well protected by the mountains of Judea. There is a interesting lesson behind it, if we aware to study these characters in Genesis.

5. Actual size of the Promise Land

 a. God reemphasised the boundaries of the promise land many times (Ex 23: 30-31 ,Deut 1:7 ,Deut 11:24, Jos 1:4)
b. In fact it stretches from the little brook of Egypt to Euphrates’s.
c. Only King David managed to grab all the land and fulfil that Promise of God

6. Cities Of Refuge

a. City of Refuge is provided by God in Mosaic Law for mansaughter suspects to escape to.
b. This concept is not common in Ancient laws

Much as I wanted to write so much, there are so little time I have left. So I am not sure if I can get it done or not.

Lastly i wanted to share this link that I found that contains very nice diagrams for understanding the book of Joshua

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So Far we had describe all the individual warriors of David to part 6

Part 6: The Warriors By The Well Of Bethlehem
Part 7: The Warriors Of The Tribe Of Benjamin
Part 8 & Part 9 : The Warriors Of The Tribe Of Gad
Part 10 : The Warriors Of The Tribe Of Benjamin, Judah and Manasseh
Part 11: Warriors From The Tribe Of Benjamin, The Kinsman of Saul

The warriors of David are made up of warriors from the various tribes and they are all elite soldiers, each with their own area of expertise. Together they are able protect King David and to advance the kingdom of David.

The church of today is known as the Army Of Christ. They are given various gift from the Holy Spirit. and they must aid in the development of the church using their various talents. Are we willing to work together to establish the kingdom of God?

So far we have covered many different warriors and today we will be studying the warriors from the tribe of Issachar. (1 Chron 12:32) The bible records 3 distinct characteristics of these warriors

1. They understood the times
2. They knew what Israel ought to do.
3. All their brethren are at their command.

These are feats that are difficult to acquire. Let us examine each of the different characteristics

1. Understood The Times.

The chinese bible translated by Lee Zhen Zhong describe it as “To have an understanding of the times”

The children of Issachar do not follow orders blindly, they understand the trends of their times. They are able to make the right decision base on it. Similarly, as christians in the church, can we fully understand the movement of the trends in our time? We often like to compare this generation with the previous, and lament that their values and moral standards differs, we accuse the younger generations for going after worldly trends and make nasty comments about them. Will that bring the people closer to God? How can we help the next generations be firm in their faith? How do we guide them to the right path?

In order to do this, we must be mindful of the trends of our times, so that we can , through prayer, develop a response and a strategy to guide the people in the right direction. The warriors of Issachar knows the times and that is something we ought to emulate

2. Knowing What Israel Ought To Do.

While most people will concur that knowing what to do is a simple thing, and it only requires basic logic and reasoning but it is interesting to note that, many a times the Israelites did not know what they ought to do. There are times they follow blindly, and they forgot that they are the children of God, specially chosen by God and not to be separate nation, unlike the kingdoms of the world.

They fail to understand that their moral values, culture and their way of life is meant to be different from the nations around, and they must preserve their purity. There are many things that the nations around them do, which they are not allowed to follow.

2.1 Doing The Will Of God

The Israelites are supposed to behave, base on the words of Gods law (Deut 6:1-9). So in order to know what Israel ought to do, they need to be well versed in the requirement of the Law of God .

The Israelites then were constantly swept away by the trend of their times, they are often influenced by the culture around them and are eager to follow the nations around them.

There are times when we fall into this same trap, we tell ourselves “We can do it as long as it is not against moral values. If we do not do it, people will find us weird. When in Rome, do as the Romans do” , But many a times we forget to consider our relationship with God, but rather place emphasis on our inter human relationship.

The tribe of Issachar is well aware of what they need to do, they understand the tide of their times, they value their human to human relationship, but at the same time they value their relationship with God even more. They would rather follow what God wants them to do.

There are times if we follow God, we may lose a friend, lose some popularity, and some friendly invitations. At the most we would be more lonely, but if we were to count our losses, our losses will be nothing compared to us offending God. We have to understand that if we were to offend God we would stand to lose even more. It is an important understanding to have.

As a christian we should know what we ought to do. we ought to know the will of God and do them.

2.2 Knowing The Right Conduct In The House Of God

Paul once gave this instruction to Timothy

“but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” – Paul (1 Tim 3:15)

Well, its easy if Paul is around, but when Paul is away and we need to handle some matters? How would we handle? How should we act in order to be pleasing before God? How do we judge between right and wrong?

We certainly do not wish to see problems within the house of God, but is it possible to have 0 incidents? I am certain that we are in heaven if there are no problems in church. This is because only in heaven there is true peace, while on earth we will face with problems. Therefore we ought to know how to conduct ourselves in the house of God

2.3 Knowing The Truth

What is most important to the house of God? Some may feel that it is money, because the church needs finance to preach, run religious classes, hold evangelistic gathering. But is money the most important? Remember, we can have the finance to build the largest church building but it is nothing if we do not have members. Then is Human to human relationship most important?

I feel that all those are important, but the most important thing should be the truth. We have to consider whether what we do is in accordance to the truth in the bible. We have to compare the decisions of the church in the light of the scripture.

The main reason is because the church is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim 3:15) . Those who are civil engineers will tell you that the pillar and the foundation of a building must never be shaken. If we destroy the foundation or a supporting pillar, the building will collapse. Therefore it is essential to guard the pillar and foundation.

The church is given one great commission, to preach and to defend the truth. If the truth has been changed and are no longer pure, won’t it clause harms to others? It would be better that it was not preached. So before we preach, the gospel we should always make sure that our message is the pure gospel message that brings salvation. We have to make sure the truth that we preach is not mingled with the teachings of man.

How can we achieve this? It requires the effort fo the entire church of God, and not just the preacher. Remember that the Gods church comprises of the entire assembly of the saints. Therefore it is every brothers and sisters responsibility to listen and discern the truth. This something that all Christians must know in the house of God.

The truth governs our conduct, teaching us what we should tell the others as well as the children. We must do everything in accordance with the truth. Truth is not the common understanding of man, only the truth from the scriptures saves.

What is this truth? It is the words of Jesus, just like what he said

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” – Jesus Jn 14:16

2.3 Going beyond the Teaching of Christ


The words of Jesus includes every instructions and every teaching, if we were to follow them, we can receive everlasting life. It cannot be added or subtracted. The biggest dangers in Christendom is not about adding and subtracting the teachings of Christ. but the danger of going beyond the teaching of Christ. This is far more dangerous compared to the adding and subtracting of the truth.

Some of you may wonder why? If someone decided to add or subtract from the scriptures, we are able to detect the change easily, we can compare them faithfully against the scriptures and root out the difference. But if the teaching goes beyond the teaching of Jesus, it takes much greater effort and diligent examination before one could detect the error. These teaching bear some resemblance to the original instruction of the Lord, but are mingled with ideas and suggestions from man.

One must be able to differentiate between the 2, which often requires close scrutiny and deep discernment of the word God.

2.3 Taking a Stand In Faith

There are some people who quoted the words of John

” Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him;for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.” – John (2 John 9-11)

They claimed that because in order not to share in the evil deeds of the people who doesn’t preach Christ, one must shun someone who goes beyond the doctrine of Christ. But is it wrong to talk to him or to greet him?

We know that John is not referring to the basic mannerism of life, as we have many other friends who does not believe in Jesus, therefore living among them and maintaining a friendliness is of no issue. However, Christians should avoid taking part in work that will help propagate their teaching.

For example, if there is a religious organisation who comes to you asking for donations, should we donate or not? We should always ask what is the donation for? If they are asking for donations to help the victims of disasters and illness, we are obliged to help. Saving the helpless and taking care of widows have nothing to do with the truth.

However, if the donations are used to construct a new religious building, or to help propagate their teachings, then it is not proper for Christians to be part of the work, as the glory should be left for the practitioner of their faith.

Christians should be aware that Elder John is talking about taking a stand in the truth, if there are people who approach us for help because they are hungry and they need food. There is no problems with us providing help.

But if it’s about our stand in the truth, then we have to be strict in our stand, if we know that the request for help is to help him propagate this teachings that are erroneous, we must make our stand clearly. Only by so doing we would not take part in his misdeed.

This is an important point, unless a christian knows the teaching of Christ, it would be difficult for one to know if someone had transgressed the teaching of Jesus. We should be like the warriors of Issachar, to know what we ought to do. To be acquainted with the truth and to be able to discern rightly the word God

3. Having All Their Brethren Are At Their Command.

If one were to give a command and everyone follows, it does make the person feel great. In fact if a man can tame an animal, he will feel the satisfaction that he is able to tame the beast.

It is quite an irony when man can tame a lions and bears and yet were unable to get their children to listen to them. So what is the clause of this problem?

In order to get submission from others, our commands must be right, they must be reasonable, and only then will people follow. Even if we bear a grudge against the person who issued the order, we will still follow at times saying “though I do not agree with you, but I believe that your commands and instructions are correct in this context.”

The warriors of Issachar knows the trend of their times, and what Israel ought to do, hence their brethren are ready at their command. They trust that if they receive an order from their leaders, the commands have been thought through carefully. They know that if they have doubts about the order, they can check directly with their leaders whom they are sure that they know the times as well as what they ought to do. They would be able to provide a satisfactory reason for their orders.

Similarly, church leaders of the present day must be careful about the commands they give. Have the command been thought through? Have we thought through carefully before issuing a command. Let us learn not to make hasty decision but to consider carefully. If a church leader issues a command, we must be sure that we have a basis, and if your coworkers wanted to know more of the rational, you must be able to present your case from the scriptural perspective.

If you were to answer queries with answers such as, “Bro XX told us this” it will definitely arouse suspicions, how can we ever be sure that Bro XX must be correct? If our order is merely a based on a suggestion or just good advice from good brother, if there is no biblical support or spiritual basis, how can we be sure its a good idea to proceed? If we hastily gave an order, we may end up creating more problems than help.

There are 2 examples that I can think of

3.1 Saul and his Rash Oath

1 Sam 14:24-30 talks about a time where Saul gave a command without considering its feasibility. They are fighting the Philistines and in the middle of the war, he declared a fast. If anyone were to eat, he will be cursed. So now one dared to touch any food even when they are weary from better. Jonathan his son ate of it, and he criticised his Dad for the rash oath. If the army would have been able to fight better if they are allowed to eat.

Finally Saul was angry that Jonathan disobeyed, so he wanted to execute him, but all pleaded for him, and they felt that Jonathan not in the wrong, he is unaware of the oath. In fact that incident proved that the orders from Saul were not correct.

While some readers may what to be the devils advocate and say that fasting and prayer is a good thing to do before spiritual warfare, it would have sounded reasonable, however, those who are acquainted with the character of Saul will vouch that Saul is not someone who fears and trust God in times of adversity. His track recorded then had proven that he was prepared to disobey God and perform a sacrifice which he is not allowed to. He should have waited for Prophet Samuel, but yet he choose to disobey God.

How could someone like that trust in Gods deliverance? Will he in the midst of battle suddenly turn fervent and declare a fast and a prayer? If he is sincere about it, he would have done it way before the battle, not in the midst of it.

While another group of Devils advocate may claimed that although the command issue by Saul is at the spur of the moment, but he did it with a good intention, for his country and for God. While this reason sounds intriguing, but we must be able to discern the commands of God.

Is it true that one could do anything they want as long as their intention is good? The answer is definitely a NO, all our actions must be in accordance with the bible. We are not allowed to make void the teachings in the bible just out of good intention. Good intentions need not always be pleasing before God, especially when our good intention does not have any positive effects.

For example:

We saw a drug addict suffering madly from withdrawal syndrome. Can we out of good intention buy him some drugs to relieve him of his pain? We provided him money to help him acquire the drugs he need to get relieve from his pain.

Let us all be clear over one truth, our good intention need not yield a positive results, we must act according to the will of God, only by so doing we will be pleasing in his eyes.

3.2 David And His Census

David once gave a command at the spur of the moment, it was written in 1 Chon 21:1-4.

He ordered a census of the people to be taken, sometimes we may wonder, is there anything wrong? A king ought to know the number of citizens in his realm and the strength of his army.

Even Joab his general knows that it is against the will of God. It is interesting to note that Joab is not a very good man, but yet he is aware that David actions is going against the Lord. He oppose king David saying

“May the LORD make His people a hundred times more than they are. But, my lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? Why then does my lord require this thing? Why should he be a cause of guilt in Israel?” – Joab (1 Chron 21:3)

While Joab has already warn the king that it will incur the wrath of God, yet David proceeded with the census, causing a plague that last for 3 days.

Learning from this story, we have to understand that just because our leaders are good people doesn’t mean they are incapable of issuing in bad command. Hence we should be careful every time we receive an order.

While new Devil advocates may say that the bible says that it is Satan that moved David to sin (1 Chron 21:1) so therefore it is satan fault for harming king David. People who blame David for the misfortune doesn’t have “spiritual insight” and are incapable to discern that it is the faut if satan, Then why did God punish David and not satan?

1 Chorn 21:7 tell sus that God was displeased and he struck Israel, so does that mean that GOd has no spiritual insight at all? At the same time, David admitted his guilt before God

“I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing; but now, I pray, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.” – David (1 Chron 21:8)

Was David being clear minded? he should have shift the blame to satan.

Here lies the greatness of king David, he did not push the blame to someone else, yes it is true that Satan have tempted David to do the census, but David could have chosen to remain unmoved by the moving of satan. Though the bible is silent about how Satan moved David, but I am sure that we have all received the temptation one way or the other.

David humbly admitted his guilt, he accepted Gods punishment.

At the end of the day

From the 2 examples, we know that we should never give hap hazard commands. That will result to even more problems in the future. We should always compare to see if our command is in accordance with the teaching of Christ. Everyone will be willing to follow Christ, therefore they will automatically listen to you.

The mighty man of Issachar understood the times and they knew what Israel Ought to do, they are able to command their brethren easily. These are feats that are lacking in the modern church, so therefore let us learn to emulate them .

Yesterday I was at work and the MP3 collection was playing this song 
which I have collected since school time. It was one of the early 
works of Jolin Tsai and I remember it was around the time when I was 
still in school.

Reading the lyrics kind of, reminded me how it is like to be alone,
I wonder how many people will be that frank like her in the song. 
Nonetheless let us enjoy it.

孤单的人总说无所谓

作词:邬裕康
作曲:郭子
编曲:陈敬诗

*
  我的心真的累了
  wǒ de xīn zhēn de​ lèi le
  难道你一点也看不见
  nán​ dào ​nǐ yī ​diǎn yě kàn ​bu ​jiàn​ì
  解释再多也不能改变
  jiě ​shì zài duō yě​ bù ​néng gǎi ​biàn​
  感情不能靠我一个人挽回
  gǎn ​qíng bù ​néng kào wǒ yī ​gè ​rén wǎn ​huí​
  开始学著 不要人陪
  kāi ​shǐ xué zhù bù ​yào rén péi
  假装孤单也是一种美
  jiǎ ​zhuāng gū ​dān​ yě shì yī ​zhǒng měi
  大街上的情人双双对对
  dà ​jiē shàng de qíng ​rén shuāng shuāng duì duì
  让我看得心愈来愈碎
  ràng wǒ kàn dé​ xīn​ yù​ lái ​yù suì

​#
  孤单的人总说无所谓
  gū ​dān de​ rén zǒng shuō wú ​suǒ ​wèi
  其实心里一直在下雪
  gū ​dān de​ rén zǒng shuō wú ​suǒ ​wèi
  总是希望有个人
  zǒng​ shì xī ​wàng yǒu gè ​rén
  能够敞开我心扉
  néng ​gòu chǎng ​kāi wǒ xīn fēi
  让我在他怀里找到安慰
  ràng wǒ​ zài tā huái ​lǐ zhǎo ​dào ān ​wèi​

  孤单的人总说无所谓
  gū ​dān de​ rén zǒng shuō wú ​suǒ ​wèi
  一直独自整理所有伤悲
  yī ​zhí dú ​zì zhěng ​lǐ suǒ ​yǒu shāng ​bēi
  掩饰心中的感觉
  yǎn ​shì xīn ​zhōng de​ gǎn ​jué​​
  强忍眼角的泪水
  qiáng ​rěn yǎn ​jiǎo de lèi ​shuǐ,
  聚聚散散 不愿说後悔
  jù​ jù sàn​ sàn​ bù ​yuàn shuō​ hòu ​huǐ​

Repeat *,#

  孤单的人总说无所谓
  gū ​dān de​ rén zǒng shuō wú ​suǒ ​wèi
  其实心里不停在下雪
  qí​ shí xīn ​li bù​ tíng zài xià ​xuě
  只能希望有个人
  zhǐ ​néng xī ​wàng yǒu gè ​rén
  试著敞开我心扉
  shì​ zhù chǎng ​kāi wǒ xīn fēi
  让我在他怀里找到安慰
  ràng wǒ​ zài tā huái ​lǐ zhǎo ​dào ān ​wèi

  孤单的人总说无所谓
  gū ​dān de​ rén zǒng shuō wú ​suǒ ​wèi
  还是独自整理所有伤悲
  hái ​shi dú ​zì zhěng ​lǐ suǒ ​yǒu shāng ​bēi

  掩饰心中的感觉
  yǎn ​shì xīn ​zhōng de​ gǎn ​jué​
  强忍眼角的泪水
  qiáng ​rěn yǎn ​jiǎo de lèi ​shuǐ,
  聚聚散散 不愿说後悔
  jù​ jù sàn​ sàn​ bù ​yuàn shuō​ hòu ​huǐ​

  埋藏心中的感觉
  mái​ cáng​ xīn ​zhōng de​ gǎn ​jué​
  擦乾眼角的泪水
  cā ​gān yǎn ​jiǎo de lèi ​shuǐ
  聚聚散散 不愿说後悔
  jù​ jù sàn​ sàn​ bù ​yuàn shuō​ hòu ​huǐ​

The Translated Lyrics are as follows

Title: Words Of Loneliness
Lyrics: Wu You Kang
Composed by: Guo Zi
Arrangement: Chen Jing shi
Sang By : Jolin Tsai

* My heart is now weary,
  Have you not noticed?
  No amount of explanation could salvage the love
  Because it requires more than just my effort.
  Now I am learning, to be alone,
  Pretending that loneliness something pleasant
  But seeing the couples on the street
  Breaks my heart more and more.

# A Lonely person, will always claim that it doesn't matter
  But its always snowing within my heart,
  Deep within me I wish that someone
  Could enter my heart
  Allowing me to seek comfort within his arms.

  A Lonely person, will always claim that it's alright,
  But he is tidying up all his hurt alone.
  Concealing his emotions,
  Resisting the tears at the corner of the eye
  Unwilling to admit regrets, at every parting.

Repeat * #

  A Lonely person, will always claim that it doesn't matter
  But its has always been snowing within my heart
  I can only wish for someone
  who would try to enter my heart
  allowing me to have comfort in his arms.

  A Lonely person, will always claim that it's alright
  But I am still tidying up my hurt alone
  Concealing my emotions,
  Resisting the tears at the corner of my eye
  Unwilling to admit regrets, at every parting.

  Burying the feelings within my heart,
  wiping the tears at the corner of my eye
  Unwilling to admit regrets, at every parting.

I was talking to a friend and she requested for a summary of the books of the law. As I was rearranging and representing the data to her, I was thinking it would be worthwhile to put it on my blog.

What Is The Pentateuch Books?

They are simply the first 5 books of the old testament in the bible. They are usually referred by Christians as “The Law Of Moses” and to the Jews as “Torah”.

The books are made up of 5 scrolls, in the following table

No English Name Hebrew Name Hebrew Meaning
1 Genesis Bereshit “In The Begining”
2 Exodus Shemot “Names”
3 Leviticus Vayikra “And He Called”
4 Numbers Bamidbar “In The Desert”
5 Deuteronomy Devarim “Words”

Most people do not doubt that it is written by Moses during the last 40 years of his life leading the Israelites. though there are some who wonder how did he record his own death on Mount Nebo, so there are people who felt that perhaps Joshua completed the last chapter of Deuteronomy for him, and wrote it for him. But Some also felt that it is possible that God inspired Moses to write his own death, just like how Jesus is able to tell Simon Peter how he would die. (Jn 21:18-19)

Though there are many people who argued if the records is chronological, i will think they are, as they seems to be written one after the other, I personally feel that Gen-The early part of numbers should be written when the Israelites dwell in Sinai. Moses recorded the passage from Sinai to Kadesh in detailed, as well as the incident which the spies are sent across to Canaan. The incident turn the name of Kadesh (Meaning Holy) to Kadesh Barnea (Wandering People). then he went on to write the boo of numbers while they are travelling in the wilderness, recording only the first and the last 2 years of the travels.

Finally it ended with the book of Deuteronomy, when Moses spoke to the second generation of Israelites, to review with them the journey and to remind them to keep the word of God. This book must have been written when the Israelites were at the border of Canaan and are preparing to conquer the place. As it contains the last sermon of Moses.

Therefore listing out the books in chronological order, i will believe that they will look like this

A Time chart of Pentateuch books in Chronological Order

A Time chart of Pentateuch books in Chronological Order

Overview Of Genesis

The Synopsis of Genesis is as follows

Chapt 1-11 : Creation, fall, flood and the tower of Babel
Chapt 12-24 : The Life of Abraham
Chapt 25-26 : The Life of Issac
Chapt 26-35: The Life of Jacob
Chapt 35-50 : The Life Of Joseph

Generally, the most disputed part of the book lies from Gen 1-11 where it talks about a time which both science and religion cannot fully prove. As my purpose is only to give an overview, I would not be dwelling into the proofs of Genesis.

The book explained how the Patriarchs move to Egypt, and about the fact that God told Abraham that they will be in Egypt for 400 years. The book that talks about creation ironically ended with the verse
“So Joseph died, being one hundred and ten years old; and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.” – Moses (Gen 50:26).

Joseph left his coffin as a reminder to the Israelites that one day they will need to leave Egypt, he gave them specific instructions to carry his remains out from Egypt when God fulfilled his promise to bring them back to the land of Canaan. This is an act of faith because his coffin would have to be left untouched for 400 years. Finally the Israelites left Egypt, they followed his instruction (Ex 13:19)

Overview Of Exodus

The book Of Exodus talks about a new king of Egypt who did not know Joseph aroused. He enslaved and tortured the Israelites, they build cities for him and were his slaves. Later on, he decided to kill all the males of the Israelites to force them to assimilate into the Egyptian population. One of the child survived and is called Moses, he grew up as the sons of the Pharaohs daughter he had a burning desire to serve God, but he was not ready, so God sent him into the wilderness of Midian to be a shepherd boy. Using him to lead the Israelites at the age of 80.

The Synopsis of Exodus is as follows
Chap 1-2 : The birth and early life of Moses
Chapt 3-5: Moses called by God to go to the Pharaoh
Chapt 6-13: The 10 plagues to Egypt
Chapt 13-17 : Red sea and the first 3 months of the Journey
Chapt 20-24: The first laws, the 10 commandments
Chapt 25-40 : The detail plans of the Tabernacle.

I have written a 6th part article on the 10 plagues, you can access all the post here

Overview Of Leviticus

The book of Leviticus was Gods Revelations to Moses regarding the matters of the Law. Its synopsis are as follow

Chapt 1-8 : Laws about Sacrifice and Offering
Chapt 8-10 : Start of Priesthood, death of Nadab and Abihu
Chapt 11-16: The Hygiene Law. Discerning Clean and Unclean
Chap 17-26: Rules of Conduct

Only Chapt 8-10 contains stories while the rest contains instructions. People who learn from law will be able to draw many teachings from the laws.

Overview Of Numbers

The book of numbers records the travels of the Israelites 40 years in the wilderness. It only records the first 2 years and the last 2 years of the journey. Throughout the journey, God continue to reveal his Laws to them, especially when they encounter situation and events.

The Synopsis are as follows.
1. The first 2 years of the travel (Num 1-13)
a. Complaints about food, Gods sending Quail and Manna
b. Complaints about water, Moses exhausted, 70 Elders Appointed To Assist
c. Aaron and Miriam Dissension with Moses, Gods punishment
2. Spying Canaan and Gods Punishment (Num 13-14)
a. 12 Spies, 10 with bad news, 2 with good news
b. Rebellion against God, judged by God
3. Second half of the Journey (Num 15-26)
a. Rebellion of Levites
b. Moses Error at Kadesh
c. Battle against King Sihon and King Og
d. Balaam hired to curse Israel
e. Balaam advice to Moab to commit immorality with Israel
f. Second Census of Israel

The Wilderness Journey is mentioned by God from then all the way to the new testament, learning from the lives of the Israelites contains many valuable lessons to Christians in their daily walk with God.

Overview Of Deuteronomy

The book of Deuteronomy is a series of Sermon spoken by Moses to the second generations of Israelites. These Israelites are born in the wilderness and have not seen the miracles of God in Egypt.

Generally its Synopsis are like this
Chapt 1-4 : Review of the Wilderness Journey
Chapt 4:-11 : Recap of the Law, especially the 10 commandment
Chapt 12-26: Other Laws
Chapt 27-28 : Blessing and Curses
Chapt 29-30 : Conclusion
Chapt 31-34 : Joshua appointed as the next leader

In fact this book is one which God through Moses instructed the kings to hand copy these books and meditate on them. IT is meant as a guiding principle for him when he rules from his throne. ( Duet 17:18-20)

Yesterday there was a sharing about the topic, the peace of the Lord. I was think that it is a topic worth talking about on the blog, hence I have decided to rearrange the points over here.

What Is The Peace Of Jesus Like? How Different is it compared to peace on earth?

Lets take a quick look at the peace Jesus promised in the bible as well as the comments of Paul

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” – Jesus (Jn 14:27)

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” – Jesus (Jn 14:27)

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Paul (Php 4:6-7)

As many modern Christians will think of the peace of God as peace in the world, having prayers answered and having no troubles in the world. But over here there are a few conclusions we can safely draw.

1. The Peace Of the Lord is not a physical peace
2. Jesus made it clear that a Christian will face tribulations in their life on earth
3. The peace of Jesus allow the Christians not to feel afraid or troubled in the midst of tribulation.
4. This peace is one that surpass all understanding, and received through prayers and supplication with thanksgiving in heart.

From here let us now take a look at examples from the bible to see what this peace can do for people who believed in God

1.0 The Peace When Facing Persecutions

Initially, when the church was established by the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, God added to the church often. But as the church was at her infancy, she received countless of persecutions from many people around.

Examples of Oppositions are
1. Herod and his herodians
2. The Pharisees and Sadducee’s in the Sanhedrin.
3. The Romans

Let us table this up and take a quick look at them.

Persecutions faced by Church

If we were to read the bible readings the the chart, we will notice many interesting facts, while the modern Christians often branded together as “Prayer Warriors” to ask God to open the door of salvation, very often they were expecting a smooth entry and some even claimed that they could hear the “door cracking open” when they say their prayers. Many a times we expect God to smooth out all oppositions and troubles so that we could easily and freely preach the gospel, as if persecutions and sufferings are something that should not happen.

But we can see thats not the attitude of the early church. They accepted the sufferings as the price of pay for following Jesus, they must have recalled the words of Jesus in Jn 15:18-23. here we can see the peace of Jesus at its full work, comforting and encouraging the Christians to move forward despite that persecutions. People who like to reason logically will wonder, why is the church so joyful even when they are imprisoned, and beaten by the Sanhedrin, and why are they still able to carry on despite all the troubles they run into.

You can see that instead asking God to smoothen the path and lessen the persecutions, they pray to God to increase their boldness, so that they will be able to face it and do the will of God. They rejoiced that they have a part in the suffering of Christ. I guess that is the part of that peace that really surpass all understanding.

1.1 Why is peace in the midst of persecution so important to Christian?

I believe every Christian will recall the words of Jesus as well as Paul’s letter

” For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” – Jesus (Matt 24:21-22)

“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” – Paul (2 Tim 3:12)

This is at truth that in the ends times it is difficult to lead a godly life before Jesus. And Christians will face persecution in the last days. Only by relying on the peace of God and prayers can one continue to walk the way of God. Only by having the right perspective to sufferings and using the right responses, can a Christian be able to stand firm in the midst of persecutions. Therefore it is necessary for us to understand how we could receive the peace of Christ to help us overcome all obstacles in our walk with God

2.0 The Peace When Facing Death

Besides giving Christians peace in the midst of persecution, the peace of God give us strength even in the face of death. This is testified very often in the bible, let us take a look at some extracts from the books of Acts as well as what the apostles wrote about.

“And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” – Luke The Physician when talking about the martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 7:59-60)

“Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison”- Luke The Physician taking about Peter imprisonment by Herod, who intends to kill him like James (Acts 12:5-6)

Most people who had experience of inmates who are facing executions the following day, will testify that the calmness displayed by Peter is one that surpass understanding. Most inmates in face of death will find it hard to sleep just before their execution, while they ordered expensive and good food for their final supper, most of them will have lost all appetite to eat. While some may say that this is just a observation from Luke, let us see what the Apostles have to say about facing death.

“What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” – Paul (Acts 21:13)
“Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.” – Paul (Php 2:17-18)

“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” – Paul (2 Tim 2:6-8)

It is commonly believe that the book of Philippians and 2 Tim were written during Paul second imprisonment in Rome, where he was finally executed before the Emperor Nero

“For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.” – Peter (2 Pet 1:12-15)

Church traditions holds that Peter wrote the letter close to his martyrdom in Rome before Emperor Nero, where he was crucified upside down.

2.1 The Reason For Peace

The reason for the Christians peace before death comes from the fact that we all share the same hope in God. Paul described the hope very clearly in his epistles

“For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” – Paul (2 Cor 5:1-5)

The fact that the Holy Spirit is given to the believers, is a guarantee that eventually we would resurrect and be with God. Therefore death is not something to be shunned by Christian and we often talk about resurrection and the hope in the life to come in our memorial service.

Christians are not perfect people and they are well aware that there are many things that we are unable fulfil the righteous requirement of God, but we know that God saves us not because we are righteous, but using his grace. Just like what Paul wrote to Titus

“not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” – Paul (Tit 3:5)

Christians can now face God because he had saved us and allow Christians to have a answer of good conscience before God (1 Pet 3:21). We know that we have the courage to face God despite our failures because the blood of Christ continually forgives and wash away our guilt before God. We need to work hard to follow the standards of God, but we know that he will save us in the very end. Even if we still fall short of the standard of God.

It is because of this hope that gives the Christian the peace necessary to face even death.

2.3 Why is peace in face of death so important to Christian?

This peace is important for all man because of what the author of Hebrews once shared

“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,” – Author Of Hebrews (Heb 9:27)

We are well aware, that no matter how much good we have done, we know of many occasion’s where we are unable to perform what is right before our God, just as it was spoken by the prophets long ago

“But we are all like an unclean thing,
And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;
We all fade as a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind,
Have taken us away. ” – Isaiah (Is 64:6)

Even if one is not a Christian, they are well aware of how their conscience can prick them. So how many of us would be able to face God with a clear conscience? This is one of the reason why many people shun death and are afraid of it.

While many of the people of the world worked hard to guess when would the end of days be coming, but how many of us would have imagine that our own lives are just as fragile and even if the end of the world did not come, we may have to face the end of our lives too.

James the brother of Jesus once said

“whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” – James (Jas 4:14)

Therefore to be able to understand and the know the peace of Jesus with regards to this is important.

At the End Of The Day

Now, as we study and understand the peace of God, let us follow the encouragement of Paul to the church of Colosse

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” – Paul (Col 3:15-17)

Let us all constantly remember the peace of God and remind each other, especially when we see the coming of God is at hand.

So Far we had describe all the individual warriors of David to part 6

Part 6: The Warriors By The Well Of Bethlehem
Part 7: The Warriors Of The Tribe Of Benjamin
Part 8 & Part 9 : The Warriors Of The Tribe Of Gad
Part 10 : The Warriors Of The Tribe Of Benjamin, Judah and Manasseh

These are the groups of Warriors that joined David before he become the King Of Hebron. While some of my friends wonder “When will this story teller end his stories about the warriors of David?” There are actually 3 groups of soldiers that are noteworthy,.

These soldiers joined David during his 7 years rule in Hebron. That was the time where there were Civil War in Israel and the house of Saul is fighting against the house of David. These warriors understood the will of God and joined the ranks of the warriors of David

The bible mentioned them by their numbers but there are 3 stands out as we read the list of warriors

1. Warriors From The Tribe Of Benjamin, The Kinsman of Saul (1 Chron 12:29)
2. Warriors From The Tribe Of Issachar (1 Chron 12:32)
3. Warriors From The Tribe Of Zebulun (1 Chron 12:33)

I hope to close the series soon and write the other topics.

Interesting Facts About The Tribe Of Benjamin

During the period when i was reading up on the warriors of David. We can see a something interesting about how the tribe of Benjamin reacted to this.

Saul is a Benjamite, from the Tribe of Benjamin. Therefore the tribe of Benjamin have a blood relationship with Saul.

Similarly when King Saul was killed in action, the tribe of Judah allowed David to rule in Hebron. Hebron is a city for the tribe of Judah.

Therefore we can easily see that blood is thicker than water. We can also see the reason why the tribe of Benjamin is in a dilemma when it comes to joining David. Joining David would mean betrayal of their kindred.

Groups of Benjamites That Joined David

Interestingly the throughout the conflict between David and Saul, the Benjamites have rallied under Saul. there are some of the warriors of Benjamin who joined David in groups

1. When David is at Zilag, a group helpers from Benjamin Joined him (1 Chron 12:1-2)
2. Some of the Benjamites serving under Saul defected to David (1 Chron 12:16)
3. The most part of Saul’s Brethren only joined David when Saul was killed in Battle and David is king at Hebron ( 1 Chron 12:29)

Note that before 1 Chron 12:29, the large part of Tribe Of Benjamin still supported King Saul

Whose Side Are You On?

Whenever we are caught in a conflict between kinsman and a stranger. We will feel trapped in a dilemma. There is a tendency for us to defend our kinsman because they are closer to us.

In those situation choosing to stand on the side of fairness and justice, may result to us being treated like adversaries among our kindred. While some of us may be prepared to lose 1-2 friends for justice sake, how many of us would be willing to lose our family or relatives for the sake of doing the right thing?

Alot of times we find it easy to follow the will of God when everyone heart is in the same direction of God, but what about the situation where following the will of God would make us unpopular among our friends and relatives?

“My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.” – Abraham Lincoln

“He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God? ” – Micah (Micah 6:8)

God expects his children to be on his side, and to follow his will and to act justly.

It is the fact that God has tore the kingdom from King Saul and has appointed David as the next king of Israel. God choose David because he is a man after his heart. Although many Benjamites may have understood this fact, but yet their hearts are still because Saul is their kinsmen.

Here I would like to explore with everyone some of the interesting points about these warriors that I have learnt reading their stories, hopefully it will give us the strength to follow the will of God against all odds, as well as teach us to serve God even when the situation is unfavourable.

Having The Right Understanding

If we were to take on the shoes of the Benjamite warriors, i am sure that most of us would have an initial sense of guilt that we are betraying our relatives.

But the warriors of Benjamin are moved by the spirit of God to understand that God has chosen David to be the next king. God has already rejected King Saul after his battle with the Amelakites. Therefore God is on David’s side and God will eventually establish the kingdom of David.

We can safely conclude that these thoughts must have went through the mind of Saul’s kinsmen before they are moved by the Holy Spirit to be part of the army of David. They know that by joining the armies of David they are indeed following the will of God.

Gods Way Can Be A Difficult To Follow

While one may have the right understanding, it doesn’t necessary means that following the will of God is an easy task. As we were talking about the incident Part 10. These warriors are subjected to the scrutiny of King David as well as the Lords Of the Philistines, while the former choose to believe them, but the latter were full of suspicion to their loyalty.

The bible did not mention about the battles that they have participated and we do not have a full picture how “well used” are these men. So I would imagine that they may not be able to participate in some of the battles of David. I came to that conclusion because I was reading about the story between the Warriors of Manasseh in 1 Chron 12:19. These group of warriors wanted to join David when he was on his way to join the philistines to battle Saul. The Philistines Lords refused to let them join in in fear that they may be double agents. I am sure that there will be officers among the ranks of David that may hold these men with suspicions too.

It is not hard for us to understand their plight. For the sake of following the will of God, they have to be branded as “defectors and soldiers without honour” by both their kinsmen as well as their brothers in arms. This is a very difficult task indeed.

While it is easy for us to read through the verses quickly, has it occur to us the amount of difficulty faced by these brave warriors from the tribe of Benjamin and the sacrifice they need to go through in order to follow the will of God? Let us learn to follow the will of God no matter how difficult the situation can become.

The Magnitude Of Service

Judging from the above mentioned situation, I am sure all of you will not be surprised if these kinsman of Saul were only given trivial task and may be denied of an opportunity to participate in battles that are casual in the Establishment of the Kingdom of David. Their strengths were under utilised and they may even be treated with contempt at times.

Lets us take a moment and consider this, if one day we are made to work besides co-workers who viewed us with suspicions and treat us with contempt, are we still able to hold on to our duties?
If one day we find ourselves in a situation where we feel that our skills has been under utilised. Will we still serve willingly and not grudgingly? If we are only given one little task in church, will we be willing to do it?

As Christians who are living in the modern corporate world, we tend to measure our service to the Lord base on the magnitude of our work. We tag “Key Performance Indicator” with numerical values such as the number of people we touched, the number of Unbelievers converted. Whenever we feel that we have done a great job for God, where thousands are edified, we rejoice and cheer over it.. we thank God continuously and shout Hallelujahs and Amens.

But what happens when we are thrown in a situation when we are serving in a small job and when the KPIs are not met, will we find ourselves with difficulty to persevere and continue serving?

We tend to think that God is somehow like our CEO who concentrates on numbers and quantifiable result, we view ministries that are evangelical and crowd facing as more important than simple work such as cooking and pastoral work. Once there was a minister who boast strongly about how evangelical his members are for doing door to door evangelism. In fact they made it look like a big deal until it overshadows all other church work known to the church. Ironically,when the results are lacking and the interest is diminishing, the group find themselves struggling to continue. On the other hand, i saw a group that look slightly unsupportive of the work but yet they continue their ministry of door to door evangelism despite all odds. They are still going strong as I am speaking.

I mentioned before that God do not work like a CEO and the church is not a “corporation” but rather it is the house of God. We should do whatever we can to serve God, and we will do out utmost to serve him, no matter how minor the job seems to be. The reason is because we are doing it for God and not for man to see.

These Benjamite Warriors continue to contribute their bit to the establishment of the kingdom of God. The bible make no mention of the great things they have done, but the bible acknowledges that they overcome all odds and continue to serve even if they are being suspected of betrayal and when their kinsmen misunderstood them.

Indeed, to battle in the large battlefield is the dream of every soldier, Napoleon once visited the plains of Megiddo and he commented that the place for the last battle of earth is a perfect battlefield. He will wish to be able to deploy his troops and fight in that field. As we serve in our ministry, there are times where there are times when big miracles happen in our service, where demons are defeated and are subjected to our orders, when the sick are healed and they look as if we are accomplishing a giant work for God. That is times we feel that we have done a job of great magnitude to the Lord.

When Jesus once sent his 70 disciples to serve, they return with big news, they told Jesus that even the demons are subjected to them in his names. Jesus replied

“”Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” – Jesus (Lk 10:20)

In God eyes, as long as his children are willingly to do his work, he is willing to write all their names in heaven. God takes into account every little work we do, and all he wants from us is to join him in his work to save the world. There are some of us who are able to take on difficult task, there are also some who do not have the gifts to do it. But God values everyone for their contributions no matter how minor the work may seem to other man.

At The End Of The Day

The warriors of David are all skillful men of war, they are mighty in the battlefield constantly reminding themselves that they are serving the Lord while in battle. There are warriors such as the warrior from the tribe of Benjamin who held on to their duty even if it meant displeasure from their kindreds. They view serving God as more important than serving man. They have truly understood the spirit of the Apostles when they boldly said these before the Sanhedrin

“We ought to obey God rather than men” – Peter and The Other Apostles

These warriors have courage to continue obeying God even when they are misunderstood at all sides. They would rather have a small job that is right in the sight of God, then a big job that is opposing to the will of God.

Let us learn to contribute to the Kingdom of God in every little things that we do. Just like what Jesus once spoken off in his parables
“For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.” – Jesus (Lk 19:26)

May we all become good servants of God, may we all be faithful over every little thing God has entrusted under our care. May we carry on our duties despite all odds and continue to persevere to establish the kingdom of God. Just like the faithful warriors from the tribe of Benjamin.